Defense Legal Policy Board’s report of Subcommittee on Military Justice in Combat Zones

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on August 14, 2013

Military Justice in cases of U.S. Service members alleged to have caused the death, injury or abuse of non-combatants in Iraq or Afghanistan. Final report, May 30, 2013. [via Greta E. Marlatt]

“A moral, principled, ethical command combat climate that inculcates and preserves U.S. values, despite mission difficulties or the particular area of operations, is of paramount importance. Individual leaders at all levels have a significant responsibility in this regard. There is no substitute for ethical leadership manifested first by the provision of training in garrison and then underscored and emphasized throughout deployments. Such training should demonstrate ethical responses to civilian casualty cases, including incident reporting and investigations. Moreover, leaders must work hard to engender trust within their units that civilian casualty investigations are used to determine facts and will often serve to protect soldiers instead of just uncovering misconduct or assigning blame. Such command emphasis and mentoring, particularly at the junior ranks, will greatly help to enable Service members to overcome inclinations to put small unit/member loyalty above loyalty to their Service and its core values.”

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